After four days of team previews, we're finally ready to start the games. We had a mixture of blowouts, upsets, overtimes and last-second finishes.
Let's get to it!
Game 1 - (1) North Carolina v. (32) Oklahoma
The Sooner frontcourt tried to hold its own for a half, but Alvan Adams and Wayman Tisdale get into quick foul trouble trying to hold off the Tar Heels’ Sam Perkins and Brad Daugherty.
POY (2009) Blake Griffin actually holds Perkins, who has 12 points with five minutes to go in the first half, scoreless for the rest of the half but Michael Jordan has his way with an overmatched Anthony Bowie.
In the second half it gets ugly.
Dean Smith sits the starters with eight minutes to go and Walter Davis becomes the sixth Tar Heel in double figures as he drains a 25-footer over Brent Price. All 12 UNC players score as Billy Tubbs doesn’t slow the game down until there’s two minutes left.
Final Score: North Carolina 117, Oklahoma 83.
Game 2 - (16) Michigan v. (17) N.C. State
Jamal Crawford started the game at point guard for the Wolverines, but after jacking up two ill-advised threes coach Steve Fisher yanked him for Jalen Rose.
Jim Valvano made some substitution as well after watching Chris Webber and Roy Tarpley go to town over Thurl Bailey and Tom Burleson despite the Wolfpack’s height advantage. Even though subs Chucky Brown and Kenny Carr gave up inches, their defensive intensity gave the Wolverines fits.
Meanwhile, the small forwards for Michigan lit things up from outside. Glen Rice and Rudy Tomjanovich combined for five three-pointers as they tried to match David Thompson’s aerial assault.
It became a tie game until Carr fouls Rose hard with five seconds left and he is unable to shoot the free throws. Michigan Coach Steve Fisher tried to capture lightning twice by bringing in little-used Rumeal Robinson to shoot the free throws. This time, Robinson missed both free throws.
Bailey grabbed the rebound and passed it to Nate McMillian who quickly got it Thompson. Thompson put up a three-pointer with 1.7 seconds left but it came up short—just short enough for Tom Gugliotta to throw up a paint shot that goes in as the buzzer sounds.
Final Score: N.C. State 68, Michigan 66
Game 3 - (8) Notre Dame v (25) Marquette
Two Big East rivals square off and there are times the rest of the players are guilty of watching the scoring duel between Notre Dame’s Austin Carr and Marquette’s Dwyane Wade.
By the time it’s over, Carr ends up with 35 and Wade gets 30. However, the frontcourt enjoys a distinct advantage as Adrian Dantley of the Irish outplays Earl Tatum and Maurice Lucas. He proves to be the difference in a Notre Dame win.
Final Score: Notre Dame 82, Marquette 73.
Game 4 - (9) Ohio State v. (24) Providence
Even though Providence’s Marvin Barnes showed up five minutes before tip-off, Coach Dave Gavitt still gave him the start. Barnes rewarded him as he and guard Lenny Wilkens led the Friars to a ten-point lead at halftime.
However, the only bench player to play in the first half was Eric Williams, who came in with two minutes left to protect Barnes from getting his third foul of the first half.
In the second half, the Buckeyes would take advantage of the Friars’ tired legs. John Havlicek, Jim Jackson and Michael Redd each had more than 15 points and Barnes ended up fouling out with five minutes left. At that point, the Buckeyes put the game away as backup center Greg Oden ended the affair with a thunderous dunk.
Final Score: Ohio State 79, Providence 70.
Game 5 - (4) LSU v. (29) Arkansas
LSU Coach Dale Brown unsuccessfully lobbied for two balls to accommodate his roster of scorers. Arkansas guard Alvin Robertson took it upon himself to shut Tiger Chris Jackson down and held him to eight points.
However, Sidney Moncrief could not do the same with “Pistol” Pete Maravich, who put up 26 as his teammate Shaquille O’Neal wore out Joe Kleine, Andrew Lang and Oliver Miller.
Final Score: LSU 90, Arkansas 73.
Game 6 - (13) Connecticut v. (20) Kentucky
Wildcat Tayshaun Prince did a defensive number on UConn’s Richard Hamilton, holding the former All-America to five points.
Kentucky’s Dan Issel proved to be the difference as he took Cliff Robinson and Donyell Marshall outside, which helped open up the paint area for Sam Bowie. Ray Allen led the Huskies with 24 points but it wasn’t enough in the first upset of the tournament.
Final Score: Kentucky 80, Connecticut 75
Game 7 - (5) Arizona v. (28) Indiana
Indiana Coach Bob Knight didn’t think the Wildcats were a very disciplined team and thought his Hoosiers could take advantage with solid team play.
But in the end Lute Olson’s desert eagles had too much athleticism. Mike Bibby and Isiah Thomas played to a standstill, but Gilbert Arenas and Jason Terry proved to be too much for Steve Alford and Calbert Cheaney in a man-to-man defense.
Final Score: Arizona 92, Indiana 78.
Game 8 - (12) Duke v. (21) Syracuse
Duke Coach Mike Krzyzewski trotted out his toughest Blue Devil lineup to date. However, the Orange matchup zone befuddled J.J. Redick, who once again had a tough time in a tournament game as he was held to seven points.
Grant Hill and Shane Battier combined to hold Carmelo Anthony relatively in check as the Syracuse star scored 12 points, but has to work hard for every basket. Derrick Coleman missed a key front end of a one-and-one near the end of the game but this time Jason Williams couldn’t connect on a jump shot and the game went into overtime.
In the extra session, the reserves shined.
Syracuse’s Billy Owens used his versatility to score seven points in the overtime period, but Carlos Boozer used his inside agressiveness to combine with Johnny Dawkins’s penetration to give the Devils a close win.
Final Score: Duke 74, Syracuse 70 (OT)
Tomorrow we'll take a look at the rest of the first round. Go here for the updated bracket.